For many, winter is a great time to get away. Whether your goal is to escape the cold weather, relax, or make memories, it is important to be both safe and smart when abroad. There is nothing worse than being far away from home when disaster strikes. Luckily, Dr. Uri Sendovski, head of Emergency Medicine at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center has a few tips:
Long pants, a long sleeve shirt, closed shoes (preferably high) and definitely not sandals, a hat with a wide brim and a good sun block. This will help prevent injuries from rocks, thorns, insect and animal bites and sunburn.
It is really important to carry a large amount of drinking fluids, preferably cold water or juice which increases our desire to drink. Carbonated drinks are not recommended as the amount we are able to drink is much less. Drink at every possible opportunity along the way even if you don’t feel thirsty. On hot days when we are outside we lose body fluids when we sweat and can easily become dehydrated. The signs of dehydration are headache, exhaustion, a rapid pulse rate and thirst. The treatment is to drink large amounts of liquids. Extreme dehydration causes loss of consciousness, a rapid pulse rate, high fever and cessation of sweating. This condition is called heat stroke, and occurs when we are in a hot place for a long time without drinking and is an emergency medical situation that requires immediate transfer to a hospital.
Eat only in clean, familiar places. Avoid eating salads with eggs and mayonnaise and other foods that have not been refrigerated for long periods of time. During this warm season food poisoning is common and is manifested by vomiting, diarrhea, headache and fever.
How To Deal With…
When sleeping outdoors it is important to use insect repellants to prevent mosquito bites. If you do get bit, use Fenistil Gel (available at drugstores) on the bite in order to stop from scratching.
People that are allergic to bees need to be especially careful as for them a bee sting can be fatal. It is therefore important for them to be equipped with a shot of adrenaline -EPI-PEN and antihistamine pills which can be obtained in a pharmacy with a prescription.
The snake that can be found in most areas in Israel is the Israeli viper, while in the Negev there are also other types of snakes such as the horned viper and the adder. While traveling outdoors, in addition to the above suggestions, it is not advisable to move or pick up stones or mess around the vegetation as snakes could be hiding in any of these places. It is during this season that snakes wake up from their winter slumber and they are hungry and full of poison. In the case of a snake bite, lay the injured person down in a shady area, avoid physical activity, stabilize the affected extremity and get the person to a hospital immediately. Do not cut or suck the person”s wound, for if you have a cut in your mouth or lip area you are liable to be poisoned as well. Also do not put ice or any cooling material on the wound.
Scorpions: The instructions regarding scorpion bites are the same as for snakes. The most dangerous are the yellow scorpion and the large tailed black scorpion. If bit by a scorpion go to a hospital at once.